It’s been 15 months since a tall ship last docked in Pensacola, but that streak will come to an end Sept. 11.
Tall ship Niña, a replica of the historic caravel and an authentic floating museum, will dock at Palafox Pier and open for tours between Sept. 11-15.
“When you’re walking on board, you’re walking on board of the most historically accurate replica of a caravel that’s ever been built,” said Capt. Stephen Sanger of Sanger Ships LLC, which is operating the Niña tour this fall. “There wasn’t even electricity used during its construction.”
The five-day docking will include guided group tours with a maximum of 10 people per tour. Admission is $5 for anyone age 5 and over. Children age 4 and under get onto the ship for free.
The ship is open every day that it is docked between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. and no reservations are necessary.
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“She was constructed down in Brazil using no blueprints,” Sanger went on. “The design of the hull was in the minds of the shipwrights, and was passed down through generations. The only thing that was known about the ships is how much cargo it carried on board, the length of the keel, the description of the rigging. And that gave you a very good idea of the size of the ship.”
Guests perusing the floating museum will learn about the age of exploration and the voyages of Christopher Columbus and the other explorers who set sail on the ship over a 200-year period.
Tours will also spotlight the mechanics and inner workings of the ship, as well as the day-to-day lives of the sailors aboard Niña.
“Where they slept, how they cooked and how things operated,” Sanger said. “Then we give a little glimpse of what life is like today aboard the ship.”
Sanger Ships is practicing social distancing, and asks that visitors stay six feet apart and wear a face covering during their time aboard Niña. The tours will be staggered to ensure safety for both crew and guests.
The ship will set sail from Pensacola early on the morning of Sept. 16. Delayed a bit because of COVID-19, the hand-built replica ship will begin its tour one week prior to the Pensacola stop when it visits the Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama, on Sept. 4.
Dates and times of the tour are subject to change due to inclement weather. Visit the tall ship’s website at ninapinta.org for more information.
“It’s a great learning tool,” Sanger said. “Everyone learns about explorers in the classroom but to be able to walk on board and to touch and feel gives you a whole different perspective on life 500 years ago.”
Palafox Pier is located at 997 S. Palafox St.
Jake Newby can be reached at [email protected] or 850-435-8538.